Written for your enjoyment by: Raff
It's the NEC playoffs - so it must be Robert Morris and the Mount.
The teams will meet in the NEC postseason for the (it's been so long I'm losing count) fifth straight season today when the schools do battle at Robert Morris' Sewell Center at 7pm tonight. There is no TV coverage - but there will be a free internet stream at www.northeastconference.tv
So make no mistake about - these two teams are heavily familiar with each other - and the rivalry represents the NEC at its best. The two schools split a pair of games this season - including the Mount's unbelievable come-from-behind win at Knott Arena last Saturday.
The two schools met for the NEC title - on the same floor last year - and the only time the Mount had beaten the Colonials since Mike Rice became head coach, prior to last weekend, was when the Mount bounced the conference champs from the field in 2008.
In both of the contests the Mount has been able to neutralize Rob Robinson - who maybe RMU's best player - mainly because he was in foul trouble. It might be too much to ask that the athletic 6-9 forward spend more time on the bench than on the floor in this one.
But the Mount did pound the ball inside last time - particularly late. They drew fouls - and Shawn Atupem was superb from the field - it was his bucket that gave the Mount a 62-60 win, so expect them to try to get the ball inside early. But they must also make some jumpers. The Mount was horrid outside the paint a week ago. Some of it was because of the RMU team defense. Some of it was rushed shots. Some of it may have just been bad luck.
Both teams play sensational defense - and the Mount was able to keep Colonials freshman guard Karon Abraham in check during last week's win. That will be key again today. You can bet the Robert Morris coaching staff has tried to find ways to stop the inside presence of the Mount. That should open up the outside, but jumpers from Will Holland, Jean Cajou, Kelly Beidler and Jeremy Goode have to find the bottom of the net - if the Mount wants to spring the win on the road.
The Mount is obviously the hotter of the two teams - having won 11 straight games down the stretch. However, offensively their efficiency has dropped over the last two games. I'm not sure they can struggle as much offensively and win this game. 1 point per possession should be enough to get the job done. But that is no easy task against the Colonials.
Truly - I think this game is a tossup. I feel the Mount is slightly better than RMU - more experienced and seasoned - with a little bit more offensive ability. If the game was at Knott Arena - the Mount would be the firrm favorite. But on the road - against a team it has had problems with in the past - and its a tossup. The oddmakers have made RMU a one and a half point favorite. That seems to make perfect sense.
But upsets happen. Particularly in March. Flip the coin. And hope it comes up Mount.
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